Wikileaks is an international nonprofit organization that publishes declassified and private documents, and movies, in cooperation with the media. The material is uploaded by anonymous sources, so-called whistleblowers, to the organization’s website and document database that is located in Sweden. The organization says it wants to reveal unethical behavior by governments and businesses, and seeks free access to information of public interest.
WikiLeaks revelations of massive corruption in Tunisia is considered as one of several factors behind the Jasmine Revolution and the Arab Spring, which began in Tunisia in January 2011 and spread to several dictatorships.
The organization was started in December 2006 by a group of journalists, Chinese dissidents, IT entrepreneurs, and mathematicians from around the world. After a year, the site’s database has grown to 1.2 million documents. In June 2009, the site had declared to 1,200 volunteers.
The documents to be published is selected by a core group of some 20 editors, mostly programmers and Internet activists, in collaboration with a thousand more or less loosely connected journalists. WikiLeaks does not verify the materials and resources, but left early review to the public and thereafter five major newspapers in various countries may preview the material for payment for a period before it is released. In particular, in 2011, the unedited material containing non-anonymised information was available to the public.
One of the founders, the Australian activist, software developer, and publisher Julian Assange is described as the organization’s executive editor and chief spokesperson.
When Assange was arrested on suspicion of sex crimes in Sweden and requested extradition from Britain, the Icelandic journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson was named the official spokesperson for WikiLeaks in December 2010.
WikiLeaks was originally launched as an editable wiki site, where the public could view the documents and detect errors. It has gradually moved towards a more traditional publishing model, where traditional media performs the preview, and the public’s comments and edits are currently not allowed.
WikiLeaks has been threatened with closure several times, and because of this, it has urged the global sites to reflect the site’s content. The database has been moved to several servers in different locations, often in Sweden because of its unique constitutionally protected freedom of expression that is not expected to change under pressure from other countries. To be protected by this law generally requires that the organization has a publisher in Sweden, why Julian Assange has applied for a work permit in Sweden, but without success.
Wikileaks Forum is a discussion forum that was launched March 2, 2011 and is run by supporters of Wikileaks to be a platform for people to discuss topics, related to WikiLeaks. By 2013, in addition to the English version, site had been translated into 25 languages.
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